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Opinion: Ambassador: Being gay is not a choice
Family and friends applaud after James Hormel, the first openly gay U.S. ambassador, is sworn in as envoy to Luxembourg.
November 16th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Opinion: Ambassador: Being gay is not a choice

Editor's note: James C. Hormel served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg from 1999 to 2000. He recently wrote a memoir entitled "Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret Life, Private Struggle and Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador." He is chairman of the family-run investment firm Equidex.

By James Hormel, Special to CNN

When Shorter University in northwest Georgia recently informed its 200 employees that they had to sign a "personal lifestyle pledge" requiring them to reject homosexuality or lose their jobs, school administrators underscored a staggering injustice: In 29 U.S. states, people can still be fired for being gay.

While same-sex marriage and other equality debates soak up political and media attention, the Employment Non-discrimination Act, a 37-year-old bill, languishes in the U.S. Congress.

Without that federal law, a majority of our states condone job, housing and other discrimination based on sexual orientation. An even larger number - 35 - have no protections for transgender people.

Read James Hormel's full column

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Russ

    I am not gay, but I have often wondered what makes a person gay. I knew of a couple gay employees where I worked, but they were no problem for me. Gay pride parades seem kind of supid to me. I don't believe that gay couples should raise none gay children. Don't expect me to take a liking to being gay and I won't create problems for someone who is gay.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sue

    Our 15 year old son is gay. Thank you Ambassador for speaking out. Amazing how people make such a big deal out of someone being gay. It actually gets front page status. Hmmph. Interesting.

    November 21, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Atlanta

    great job for stepping out. It time to have laws that make everyone equal and protect everyone against misinformed idiots who think they should force their beliefs on everyone else.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Guess

    Some Gay literature defines being h0m0s@xual and gay as the same thing. I guess what you are saying is they are not the same. I think you are saying that you can be H)m0s@xual but not engage in the Gay lifestyle. This is an interesting thought and, I guess more in tune with the natural world. I guess just because you are s@xually attracted to a member of you own gender, it doesn't means you have to create a whole new definition ,such as "gay",of the human specie. You still a man or a woman.

    November 19, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. justin

    thank you Ambassador Hormel for stepping up and speaking out!

    November 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |